The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), in cooperation with Applebee’s Restaurant in Montgomery, is investigating a food handler who is infected with hepatitis A virus. As a preventative measure, ADPH is suggesting customers who consumed food, whether dine-in, pickup, or delivery, between the dates of July 8 through July 16, 2021, be identified. These patrons may need the hepatitis A vaccine or immune globulin to reduce their chance of illness.
Hepatitis A is a viral infection that can be transmitted person-to-person and by eating food or drinks prepared by an infected person. Hepatitis A vaccine can prevent infection, but only if given within 14 days of exposure to hepatitis A. The hepatitis A vaccine can be given to persons over 12 months of age who have not completed the two-dose hepatitis A vaccination series. Persons over 40 years old may also receive immune globulin.
“Adults with hepatitis A may have symptoms that include fatigue, low appetite, stomach pain, nausea, and jaundice. These symptoms usually resolve within two months of infection,” said Dr. Burnestine Taylor, Medical Officer for Disease Control and Prevention, ADPH. “Children less than 6 years of age generally do not have symptoms or have an unrecognized infection. Almost all people who get hepatitis A recover completely.”
If you have eaten food prepared at Applebee’s, located at 3195 Taylor Road in Montgomery, Ala., between the dates of July 8 through July 16, 2021, contact your health care provider, pharmacy, or the Montgomery County Health Department regarding getting the vaccine as soon as possible. You may also contact your local provider if you are uncertain about your past vaccine status.
It is rare for hepatitis A to cause severe illness, but persons 50 years of age or older and those with other liver diseases are more at risk. The best way to prevent getting hepatitis A is to receive the vaccine within the first two weeks after exposure. Those who have previously been vaccinated with one dose of Hepatitis A vaccine need a second dose. Two doses are required to be considered protected from exposure.
Out of an abundance of caution, the restaurant was closed for a day of cleaning. The restaurant had no violations during a recent environmental inspection and continues to be highly responsive and cooperative to help rectify this situation.
For more information, please visit the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/index.htm or https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/hepatitis/index.html